Coal may not be king in Ohio's 78th House District anymore, but it sure is throwing around money like a king, at least in contributions to state Rep. Larry Householder, the heir apparent of the House Speakership in 2002.
Householder, R-Perry County, reported that his campaign raised $285,378 in contributions last year, and more than $67,000 worth of the contributions came from people affiliated with coal companies. The rest of the money came from lobbyists, individuals and organizations around Ohio and the country.
Householder's district includes the city of Athens and western portions of Athens County, as well as Hocking County, Perry County and a portion of Licking County. He is running unopposed in the March primary.
In the November general election, he will face Democrat Lisa Eliason, who currently serves as the Athens City Prosecutor. Also on the ballot for the 78th District seat will be Libertarian Scott Ryan Nazzarine of Athens and any independent candidates who file.
Eliason, by comparison, reported that she raised $100 for her campaign in 1999. She is in a different position than Householder since she's not an incumbent and in line for a powerful House leadership position, but is running for the same job as Householder to represent the district.
If re-elected to the Ohio House, Householder will become Speaker of the House in 2002. The arrangement makes him one of the most powerful Republicans in the state. House Republicans have assigned him to control their campaign fund beginning next year. Defending 1999's heavy contributions, Householder has stated that he needs to raise a lot of money in order to help other Republicans running for office in Ohio.
Critics such as Athens County Democratic Party Chair Susan Gwinn counter that the huge number of donations from lobbyists and people outside of the district show that Householder is representing special interests, rather than the people of his district.
TO SAY THAT HOUSEHOLDER raised a lot of money in 1999 is an understatement.
Coal companies and people affiliated with coal companies led the donations, but Householder also received money from Political Action Committees (PACs) that represent dentists, eye doctors, soft drink companies, insurance companies, funeral home directors, lawyers, paper companies, truckers, beer and wine distributors, hospitals, people in education, farmers, manufacturing companies, gas companies and the National Rifle Association.
Contributions have come in from around the state and country, and most have come from outside of the district, according to the report.
People affiliated with two coal companies in Jackson County alone contributed more than $42,000 to Householder's campaign war chest. The contributions were not made by the coal companies directly, but by employees of the coal companies and people affiliated with them. The report does not state that anyone gave the money for the coal companies, but instead lists the names of the people who contributed and their addresses.
In Jackson County, for example, Denton Bowman, who is listed as the vice president of Waterloo Coal, contributed $2,500 to Householder's campaign. Shannon Bowman of Jackson, who is listed as a housewife with the same address of Denton Bowman, also gave $2,500.
Brian Parks of Waterloo Coal gave $2,500, as did William Parks, who is listed as secretary/treasurer of Waterloo Coal. Margie Parks, who is listed as a housewife with the same address as William Parks, also gave $2,500.
Theodore Darlington Jr. of Waterloo Coal gave $2,500, as did Katherine Darlington, who is listed as a private investor who has the same address as Theodore Darlington Jr. Students Sasha Noel Weber, Shannon Weber and Shalyn Walker all are listed as having the same address as both Darlingtons, and all three gave $2,500 each.
Brenda Weber, who is listed as vice president of Waterloo Coal and has the same address listed as the Darlingtons, Webers and Walker, also gave $2,500.
In all, that makes 11 donations of $2,500 each from people affiliated with Waterloo Coal of Jackson to the campaign, for a total of 27,500.
Another Weber, Sean, who is listed as living in New York City, gave $2,500 to the campaign about the same time as Brenda, Shannon and Sasha Noel Weber, but it's unclear if he is related to the people apparently connected to Waterloo Coal.
People affiliated with the Sands Hill Coal Company based in Wellston donated money to the campaign in much the same way. Five Sands Hill employees each donated $2,500. Erin Huffman, who is listed as a student with the same address as Sands Hill Coal Company Vice President Jack Huffman, also gave $2,500.
Those six donations of $2,500 add up to $15,000 worth of donations from people affiliated with Sands Hill Coal.
Other coal companies affiliated with people who gave large donations to Householder's campaign include the MM Coal Company of Columbus, the WB Coal Company of Columbus and the Schiappa Coal Company of Steubenville.
The Ohio Valley Coal PAC also donated $1,000 to the campaign. Michael Carapellotti, who is listed as secretary/treasurer of Anthony Mining Company in Steubenville, also gave $2,500 to Householder.
Along with coal companies, quite a few individuals and PACs gave large sums of money to the Householder campaign. Leading Central Ohio businessman and developer Les Wexner donated $2,500 to the campaign. John W. Berry of Dayton, who is listed as the CEO of Berry Investments, also gave $2,500 to Householder. Akron industrialist David Brennan is also listed as giving $2,500 to the campaign. Tamara Longaberger, who is listed as the president of the Longaberger Company in Zanesville, donated $1,000.
Plenty of people outside of the state also contributed. These people include Wellington Leonard, who is listed as the owner of a securities firm in Scottsdale, Ariz., who gave $2,500; housewife Michele Leonard who is listed with the same address and gave $2,500; Donald Ewart, who is listed as the president of the Columbus Group Inc. and lives in Butler, Penn., gave $,2500; housewife Martha Ewart, who is listed with the same Butler, Penn. address, also gave $2,500; Phoenix, Ariz., real estate broker David Bernstein gave $2,500; and Betsy Bernstein, who is listed as having the same address in Phoenix, also gave $2,500.
PACs based outside of Ohio that contributed money include Team Ameritech PAC in Washington, D.C., Anthem Insurance Co., Good Government PAC based in Indianapolis, Inc.; UPSPAC based in Atlanta, Ga.; the NRA Political Victory Fund based in Fairfax, Va.; and the International Paper PAC based in Washington, D.C.
Quite a few people with ties to Athens County also donated, although they mainly contributed smaller sums of money. These people include: Steve Holtel of Nelsonville, Mike Brooks of Nelsonville, Sandra Geiger of Athens, Alan Geiger of Athens, Ronald Strickmaker of Athens, Harold Laughlin of Athens, mining union representative Don Nunley of Nelsonville, former state Sen. Nancy Dix
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